Chrysler Pacifica hybrid poised to become autonomous

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Windsor Star/Grace Macaluso


The Windsor-built Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is leading Fiat Chrysler’s charge into the brave new world of autonomous driving amid word Monday that Google will be launching a test fleet of 100 self-driving minivans next year in the U.S.

Waymo, the tech giant’s newly minted self-driving division, said it would use the plug-in, electric hybrid minivans to serve real-world customers in real-world situations.

“Further proof you can teach an old body style new tricks, the revitalized Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivan is showcasing Google Waymo’s newest technology,” said Rebecca Lindland, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book. “This program provides consumers exposure to self-driving vehicles, and exposure usually leads to comfort with and adoption of similar features available in personal use vehicles.”

The joint FCA-Waymo project is part of a partnership forged earlier this year to incorporate Google’s self-driving technology into the Pacifica hybrid, which began production at the Windsor Assembly Plant on Dec. 2.

The vehicles are currently being outfitted with Waymo’s fully self-driving technology, including a purpose-built computer and a suite of sensors, telematics and other systems, and will join Waymo’s self-driving test fleet in early 2017. [Read More]